I have found Utopia, and it is Black Mountain, North Carolina.
We went to the mountains yesterday, specifically to see a town called Asheville. I have heard about this town for 20 years. My grandparents were obsessed with it (they pronounced it "Ayshevull"), mostly because there is a Vanderbilt mansion there that they loved to visit. The driveway of the place is three miles long. Those Vanderbilts made a fortune selling those jeans, didn't they? BAH!
I had me some Gloria Vanderbilt perfume in 11th grade. I smelled some at CVS the other day. I was right back at my little vanity, surrounded by my Paper Moon Graphics cards (did anyone else love those?), Billy Squire playing, sporting my Jordache jeans.
But I digress.
Everyone on earth has been telling us about Asheville. They say it is like Ann Arbor (a cool town in Michigan) or Seattle (a cool town in Washington) or San Francisco (a cool town in California) or Paris (a cool town in general). So we went.
And you know it was full of your filthy hippies? Don't get me wrong. I enjoy being among the hippies, visiting the hippie stores and watching the drum circles and seeing the liberal bumper stickers ("These Colors Don't Run...Other Countries"). But I already LIVED in Seattle. I already dated patchouli boys, getting smacked in the face with their dreadlocks. I am too old and, frankly, too intolerant for that sort of a thing anymore. I want to say, "Do you even THINK about having a 401(k)?" or "How do you think those tattoos up your arm are gonna look when you're a gramma?"
I do not know when I became this person. As a child of hippies, I spent 74,000 weekends in the aforementioned Ann Arbor, protesting the war or Nixon or nukes or whatever we were pissed about at the time. I ran around naked, giving peace a chance and such. I guess I got over it.
Anyway, we liked Asheville, but when we were leaving, we decided to visit the next town over, Black Mountain. I should have known I'd like it because it had "Black" in the title. Four of my favorite songs have "Black" in the title (Black Dog, Black Hole Sun, Paint it Black, and especially Black [by Pearl Jam]).
Oh, was it ever cute there. You are absolutely surrounded by green mountains (I really didn't SEE a black mountain) and cute cute cute little stores: chocolate shops, hardware stores that had really cool things (oh! Did I want to buy the lip gloss at said hardware store! They had Baby Ruth flavor, Razzle flavor, Bit O Honey flavor...), antique emporiums, coffee bars...
We DID buy a table at an antique shop, but get your knickers out of your nether regions (I am crude today, aren't I?). We had no kitchen or dining room table. The one we had in Burbank broke so we donated it to charity. Nice. "Hey, poor person! Have a cracked table!" (It was just wobbly. It'd work well enough in a pinch. We just didn't want to move it all the way here.)
Anyway, we got us a gray Formica and chrome 1950s table with a hidden leaf built inside of it. Oh! It is cool. Here is a picture of KIND of what it looks like. Ours is more of a butterfly, boomerang sort of pattern.
Sadly, we have no chairs to go with it yet, but that is our next project.
And finally, I did get up the nerve to count our money, which I knew would be lessened after this cross-country move. We have $11,217.40 to our name, as of today. Which is still better than the $500 we had at the beginning of the year. So perhaps I should calm down. Maybe I should be more of a hippie...